A holistic strategy? Examining how armed drone strikes interact with other elements of national power
Hafez, Mohammed M.
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Armed drones, technically known as MQ-1B Predators and MQ-9 Reapers, have become a preferred tool in U.S. counterterrorism operations. The use of armed drones in counterterrorism strategy, however, has spurred worldwide debate over the morality, legality, accountability, and effectiveness of the campaigns. Despite the concerns and debates about the armed drone programs, the armed drone campaigns will likely not only continue but also expand in the future. The purpose of this thesis is to explain how the application of armed drone strikes in fragile states has interacted with other elements of national power to achieve the objectives defined in the United States' counterterrorism strategy. The research examines what the United States conducted in fragile states in terms of diplomatic, information, military-other than drone strikes-and economic instruments of national power to achieve the objectives outlined in the United States' national strategies. Using Yemen and Somalia as case studies, this thesis shows that armed drones do interact positively with other elements of national power, but the employment of all instruments falls short of meeting the U.S. objectives for the countries. Incidentally, the failures do not result from the use of armed drones but from a misuse in some of the other instruments of national power.
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